This is a video taken by the camera attached to the space shuttle’s booster rockets.
NPR’s Robert Krulwich writes:
It’s about two minutes up, then four minutes down, starting in lazy loops through the empty (except for the metal groaning) upper atmosphere; then the Earth’s surface swings with the arc of our fall, the atmosphere thickens, you hear wind, see inky, smoky moments, bursts of flame, winds start whistling by, groaning gets louder, clouds appear below like distant pillows, which we swoosh through and, after ejecting something, there’s a snap, parachutes suddenly appear and we drop, then splash into, under and out of the sea, only to watch something else toppling out of the sky nearby.
It’s amazing. It’s probably the closest I’ll ever get to going to space. It makes my heart hurt the way La Sagrada Familia made my heart hurt, with sheer beauty. I nearly threw my laptop off my lap at a couple of points because I got so excited.
It’s about eight minutes that you won’t regret.
(Title text from Leslie Fish’s “Hope Eyrie“; hat tip to Batya, who I think told me about this one, or at least about a similar song.)